Written by: Bob Colling
Smoky Mountain Wrestling presents Volunteer Slam
From: Knoxville, TN
This is the first big event for Smoky Mountain Wrestling. The show is heavily centered around the crowning of the first SMW Heavyweight Champion.
The arena is very dark with not much lighting. It’s similar to what Bill Watts was doing with WCW at the time as he’d rather have the crowd in the dark and focus it on the ring. Makes it feel like there is nobody in the arena to watch the show.
Opening Contest: Dixie Dynamite vs. The Dirty White Boy in a SMW Heavyweight Title Tournament Match: Early on, Dynamite knocks DWB off his feet with a standing dropkick and points at Ron Wright. Dynamite continues his offense with arm drags and hip tosses sending DWB to the floor who flops down on the outside. The matches are going to be clipped it looks like as they have a test of strength with Dynamite stomping on DWB’s hands. DWB knocks Dixie off his feet with a clothesline to gain the advantage. DWB scoop slams Dixie and follows up with a leg drop but can’t get a three count as ten minutes have expired in the match. DWB looks to rip the mask off but Dixie avoids it happening. DWB plants Dixie with a DDT and taunts the fans afterward but only gets a near fall. Dixie counters a cocky cover for a near fall but soon runs into a clothesline. DWB misses a shoulder in the corner and Dixie looks to fight back with strikes. Dixie hits a super kick but DWB gets his foot on the bottom rope to break the count. DWB avoids a dropkick by hanging onto the ropes and hits the Bucksnort Blaster for the win. (*1/4. A really basic match that didn’t have much offense outside of clotheslines and strikes. I would have expected a more dominating performance from one of the top heels in the company.)
Backstage, Dutch Mantel interviews Buddy Landell. He is wrestling Brian Lee in the first round. Buddy doesn’t think Lee is ready to wrestle him.
Second Contest: Brian Lee vs. Buddy Landell in a SMW Heavyweight Title Tournament Match: Landell started the match with several strikes on Lee and gets a near fall after a quick clothesline. Buddy has a front face lock on Lee and uses the ropes for the illegal advantage. Landell continues to work over Lee by biting his face. Landell attempts a short arm clothesline but Lee doesn’t budge and drops Landell. Lee hits a power slam but misses a top rope knee drop. Buddy yanks on the knee and goes for the figure four but Lee counters with an inside cradle for the win. (*1/4. Similar to the first match. Just a lot of basic stuff with nothing bringing the fans into the match. Lee is a big guy and doesn’t seem to be booked as an overpowering baby face as he probably should be.)
Backstage, Tim Horner is interviewed regarding his upcoming match with Paul Orndorff. Horner has been waiting for this match for a long time. Horner is going to do his best for Smoky Mountain Wrestling and win the SMW Heavyweight Championship. Talk about a promo that lacks confidence.
Third Contest: Tim Horner vs. Paul Orndorff in a SMW Heavyweight Title Tournament Match: Horner shoves Orndorff down to the mat after Paul tried to intimidate him. Horner shoulder blocks Orndorff to continue to get the upper hand. Horner and Orndorff trade some mat wrestling holds with both men briefly having an advantage. Horner knocks Orndorff to the floor and doesn’t follow up on the chance. Horner hits a cross body for a near fall. Moments later, Orndorff is stomping away on Horner and drives his elbow into Tim’s throat while laying across the apron. Paul delivers a knee drop on the apron and uses a television cord to choke Horner. Orndorff knee lifts Horner off the apron back to the floor and taunts the fan while their hero is on the floor struggling. Orndorff delivers an elbow drop back in the ring and is picking apart Horner. Orndroff cuts Horner off on a comeback with a clothesline to maintain control of the bout. Horner rolls Orndorff up from behind while Paul argued with the referee but only gets a near fall. Tim fights out of the corner with several strikes but is stopped by a low blow.
There has been fifteen minutes in the time limit with five minutes remaining. Orndorff comes off the middle rope for a splash but Horner manages to get his knees up to block it! Horner hammers away on Paul and delivers an elbow strike. Horner takes Orndorff over with a snap suplex but only gets a near fall. Horner clotheslines Orndorff in the corner but soon runs into an elbow. Horner backslides Orndorff for a near fall. Horner tries a few pin attempts but can’t get a three count. Tim has a sleeper hold locked in and Orndorff is fading away. Orndorff sends Horner to the floor and rams Horner face first into the announcers table. Horner does the same to Orndorff. Orndroff shoves Horner down and traps his leg between the ropes to get the cheap win. (*1/2. A slow match with a cheap finish to protect Horner, I’d assume. Orndorff advancing makes sense as Orndorff is the most well known guy in the promotion to begin with.)
Fourth Contest: Jimmy Golden vs. Robert Gibson in a SMW Heavyweight Title Tournament Match: Golden wastes no time to attack Gibson before the bell. Gibson takes Golden over with a power slam in the opening moments. Golden tries to shake hands with Gibson but instead slaps him and that doesn’t end up well for him in the corner. Golden chop blocks the knee of Gibson while the referee caused a distraction. Golden focuses his attack on the left knee for several moments. Golden wraps the leg around the ring post. Golden tries to wrap Robert’s leg around the post again but Gibson kicks Golden away and fights back hopping around on one leg. Gibson sends Golden shoulder first into the ring post but is met with a knee lift while on the apron. Gibson kicks Golden down to the canvas and Gibson has some momentum on his side. Of course, that doesn’t last too long as Golden yanks Robert back down to the canvas by the hair. Gibson comes out of nowhere with a bulldog for the win. (*. For what was shown, the match was based around Golden working on the knee and then leaving the at the end. Golden was still presented strong, so he should be a focal point for the company, I’d imagine.)
Fifth Contest: Dirty White Boy vs. Brian Lee in the semifinals of the SMW Heavyweight Title Tournament: Lee doesn’t wait for the bell and hammers away on DWB and follows up with a clothesline causing DWB to bail to the floor. Lee rams DWB into the announcers table face first before returning to the ring. Lee backdrops DWB and gets a two count. Lee jabs DWB several times causing DWB to again go to the floor. Lee has Ron Wright but DWB comes back and saves his disabled manager. DWB rams Lee into the ring post head first. Ron Wright is distracting the referee while Lee is getting busted wide open thanks to DWB biting Lee’s forehead! DWB continues to work over Lee, who is bleeding quite badly at this point. DWB hits a snap power slam but Lee still has some strength to kick out at two. Lee gets tied up in the ropes and DWB continues to pummel Lee with strikes. Lee begins to get a second wind and hammers away on DWB. Lee drops DWB after several right hands and follows up with a clothesline. Lee dropkicks DWB but runs into a boot in the corner. DWB scoop slams Lee and heads to the middle rope but misses a head butt. Lee covers and pins DWB! After the match, DWB gets up right after the count and attacks Lee. DWB grabs a steel chair and whacks Lee over the back! DWB continues to use the chair on Primetime. (**. In terms of action, it’s not an overly great match but they told a good story and the usage of blood here is a prime example as to how it helps a match. This is the first match on the show that gave the impression of true hatred and the fans were clearly invested into it. A blood feud for SMW between DWB and Lee will be nothing but good things for them.)
Backstage, Dutch Mantel interviews the Dirty White Boy. He claims the loss was a fluke and says that Brian Lee could never beat him again. He assures us that Lee will not walk out with the championship tonight.
Sixth Contest: Robert Gibson vs. Paul Orndorff in the semifinals of the SMW Heavyweight Title Tournament Match: Orndorff is going after the injured knee that Gibson suffered during the previous match with Jimmy Golden but Gibson avoids Paul early on. However, they go to the floor and Orndorff gets to work on the left knee to control Gibson while focusing his attack on the knee for several moments. Orndorff has Gibson’s leg trapped over the top rope and hammers away on the knee. Gibson begins to fight back ramming Orndorff into the top turnbuckle and clotheslines Orndorff. Gibson counters a hip toss with a weak looking bulldog but can’t get a three count as Orndorff gets his foot on the bottom rope. Orndorff chop blocks Gibson’s leg and gets the pin with a handful of tights. (*. Well, this is likely heavily clipped as it went apparently 18 minutes but only five or so were actually shown. For what they showed, it was boring and just Orndorff working over the leg.)
Backstage, Dutch Mantel chats with the SMW Tag Team Champions the Heavenly Bodies and Jim Cornette. Cornette hypes up their match against the Party Patrol, Johnny and Davey Rich. Stan Lane says this is serious business and it will be their last party. Cornette threatens the women to stay away from the champs because they don’t want anything to do with them.
Seventh Contest: SMW Tag Team Champions The Heavenly Bodies vs. Johnny & Davey Rich: Johnny and Lane start the match with the champs getting knocked down with double dropkicks and hip tosses. The champs decide to tease a retreat to the backstage area but they return to the ring to continue the match. Davey nails Lane with a forearm shot but Lane complains about a closed fist, which didn’t happen. Lane tags out to Pritchard who gets hip tossed but clotheslines Davey from behind thanks to a distraction from Lane. Davey is getting worked over by the champions for several moments now. Lane sends Davey across the timekeepers table and Cornette uses his tennis racket on Davey while the referee was distracted by Johnny in the ring. Davey hasn’t been able to get any momentum going for himself and continues to get pummeled by the champs. Pritchard misses a reverse elbow drop from the top!
Davey starts to crawl and makes the tag to Johnny. Here is Johnny to clean house on the champs with several strikes. Johnny had a full nelson on Lane until Pritchard kicked Johnny. Davey and Tom brawl on the floor. Cornette trips Johnny to allow a leg drop from Lane but Stan only gets a near fall. Cornette is on the apron but is knocked off by Davey. Johnny has a sleeper on Lane but is kicked by Pritchard from behind and Lane covers for the win. (**. A decent match with the offense on Davey being entertaining but the finishing sequence just came across as if they were lost as to how to go about it in terms of delivery.)
Backstage, Dutch Mantel is with the Heavenly Bodies for an interview. Stan Lane says it is great to be at the top of the sport. Lane brags that they will remain the champs for as long as they see fit. Pritchard pretty much repeats what Lane said. Cornette wonders when was the last time he was associated with something that wasn’t successful. Jim says that the Party Patrol are welcomed for a rematch and says any tag team can try and take the gold from them.
Bob Armstrong lets us know that he talked to the doctor and says that Lee has lost a lot of blood and a possible shoulder injury. Orndorff takes that as he won the championship and poses with the belt while the fans boo him big time. Armstrong actually asked he not wrestle but here comes Brian Lee all taped up. Lee is ready to fight and here we go.
Main Event: Paul Orndorff vs. Brian Lee for the vacant SMW Heavyweight Championship: Orndorff works over Lee in the corner and rams Primetime into the corner a few times head first. Lee fights back with a few strikes but runs into a knee and Orndorff hits a clothesline and a middle rope forearm drop. Lee is sent to the floor where Orndorff hits Lee with a chair. The referee simply turned his back away. Lee rams Paul head first into the announcers table as they brawl on the floor. Back in the ring, Lee hits a snap suplex but gets taken back down with a shoulder strike by Orndorff. Lee rams Orndorff head first into the top turnbuckle but Orndorff takes Lee over with a back suplex for a near fall. Lee continues to fight back with a series of strikes.
Lee comes out of a corner to hit a clothesline and both men are down. They collide shoulders and both fall down again. The referee gets knocked down due to a wild elbow strike by Orndorff. Orndorff goes for the piledriver but Lee counters with a backdrop. Here comes the Dirty White Boy but Lee knocks him off the apron. Lee ducks a right hand and they collide again. Orndorff covers but Lee kicks out at two. Bob Armstrong is the acting referee for the rest of the match. Armstrong sees that Orndorff has an illegal object and disqualifies Orndorff to give Lee the victory. After the match, Armstrong helps Lee by sending DWB to the floor. Armstorng is decking heels! This is turning into a big brawl with various wrestlers entering the ring. (*1/2. Um, why would you have the tournament final end with a DQ? That is such a cheap way to win the title for a babyface. Lee going over cleanly considering his injury would have been the much better route and given him more support moving forward. I’d have to think this finish hurts him.)
Backstage, Dutch Mantel chats with Paul Orndorff who says that was a ripoff and says that Lee bled all over the place. Orndorff claims there has been a conspiracy against him by Bob Armstrong. He is not done with Brian Lee or Bob Armstrong.
Backstage, a bloody Brian Lee is interviewed and says that tonight should be the best night of his life but it isn’t. That’s because of Dirty White Boy and Paul Orndorff and says he won’t stop until their bodies are covered in blood.
Honestly, it’s a disappointing first big show for Smoky Mountain Wrestling. The positives were the Lee/DWB story advancement and Orndorff continues to be a great heel. However, the booking of the tournament final was confusing and just makes Lee look like he couldn’t have beaten Orndorff by pin fall. The action throughout was heavily on the brawling side with very little exciting action taking place.
Thanks for reading.